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Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin is one of the oldest Universities in the world and is a major attraction for overseas visitors to Ireland. Trinity College has been a seat of learning for generations and has educated some of the world’s most famous scholars. Trinity College (Irish: Coláiste na Tríonóide), formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin in Ireland. The college was founded in 1592 as the “mother” of a new university, modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and of Cambridge, but, unlike these, only one college was ever established; as such, the designations “Trinity College” and “University of Dublin” are usually synonymous for practical purposes. It is one of the seven ancient universities of the British Isles, as well as Ireland’s oldest university.
Trinity College History
Originally established outside the city walls of Dublin in the buildings of the dissolved Augustinian Priory of All Hallows, Trinity College was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it was seen as the University of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. Although Roman Catholics and Dissenters had been permitted to enter as early as 1793, certain restrictions on their membership of the college remained until 1873 (professorships, fellowships and scholarships were reserved for Protestants), and the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade its adherents, without permission from their bishop, from attending until 1970. Women were first admitted to the college as full members in 1904.
Trinity College on College Green
Trinity College is now surrounded by Dublin and is located on College Green, opposite the former Irish Houses of Parliament. The college proper occupies 190,000 m2 (47 acres), with many of its buildings ranged around large quadrangles (known as ‘squares’) and two playing fields. Academically, it is divided into three faculties comprising 25 schools, offering degree and diploma courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In 2011, it was ranked by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings as the 110th best university in the world, by the QS World University Rankings as the 65th best, by the Academic Ranking of World Universities as within the 201-300 range, and by all three as the best university in Ireland. The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 4.5 million printed volumes and significant quantities of manuscripts (including the world famous Book of Kells), maps and music.
History of Trinity College Book of Kells
The Book of Kells is the most famous of the volumes in the Trinity College Library. Shown with this article is the Madonna and Child from Kells (folio 7v).
Early history: The first university of Dublin (unrelated to the current university) was created by the Pope in 1311, and had a Chancellor, lecturers and students (granted protection by the Crown) over many years, before coming to an end at the Reformation.
Following this, and some debate about a new university at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in 1592 a small group of Dublin citizens obtained a charter by way of letters patent from Queen Elizabeth incorporating Trinity College at the former site of All Hallows monastery, to the south east of the city walls, provided by the Corporation of Dublin. The first Provost of the College was the Archbishop of Dublin, Adam Loftus (after whose former college at Cambridge the institution was named), and he was provided with two initial Fellows, James Hamilton and James Fullerton. Two years after foundation, a few Fellows and students began to work in the new College, which was then laid around one small square.
Trinity College Developed
During the following fifty years the community increased and endowments, including considerable landed estates, were secured, new fellowships were founded, the books which formed the foundation of the great library were acquired, a curriculum was devised and statutes were framed. The founding Letters Patent were amended by succeeding monarchs on a number of occasions, such as by James I (1613) and most notably by Charles I (who established the Board – then the Provost and seven senior Fellows – and reduced the panel of Visitors in size) and supplemented as late as the reign of Queen Victoria (and later still amended by the Oireachtas in 2000).
Trinity College 18th Century
The eighteenth century was for the most part peaceful in Ireland, and Trinity College shared in this calm, though at the beginning of the period a few Jacobites and at its end some political radicals perturbed the College authorities. During this century Trinity College was seen as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy. Parliament, meeting on the other side of College Green, made generous grants for building. The first building of this period was the Old Library building, begun in 1712, followed by the Printing House and the Dining Hall. During the second half of the century Parliament Square slowly emerged. The great building drive was completed in the early nineteenth century by Botany Bay, the square which derives its name in part from the herb garden it once contained (and which was succeeded by Trinity College’s own Botanic Gardens). Following early steps in Catholic Emancipation, Roman Catholics were first allowed to apply for admission in 1793, prior to the equivalent change at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. However, until the retirement of Archbishop McQuaid in 1972, the Irish Roman Catholic bishops implemented a general ban on Roman Catholics entering Trinity College, with few exceptions, because of its largely Anglican ethos.
Trinity College 19th Century
The nineteenth century was also marked by important developments in the professional schools. The Law School was re-organised after the middle of the century. Medical teaching had been given in the College since 1711, but it was only after the establishment of the school on a firm basis by legislation in 1800, and under the inspiration of one Macartney, that it was in a position to play its full part, with such teachers as Graves and Stokes, in the great age of Dublin medicine. The Engineering School was established in 1842 and was one of the first of its kind in Ireland and Britain.
Trinity College Hearings
In December 1845 Denis Caulfield Heron was the subject of a hearing at Trinity College. Heron had previously been examined and, on merit, declared a scholar of the college but had not been allowed to take up his place due to his Catholic religion. Heron appealed to the Courts which issued a writ of mandamus requiring the case to be adjudicated by the Archbishop of Dublin and the Primate of Ireland. The decision of Richard Whately and John George de la Poer Beresford was that Heron would remain excluded from Scholarship. In 1873, all religious tests were abolished, except for entry to the divinity school, and Catholics were accepted as students.
Women were admitted to Trinity College as full members for the first time in 1904.
In 1907 when the Chief Secretary for Ireland proposed the reconstitution of the University of Dublin. A Dublin University Defence Committee was created and was successful in campaigning against any change to the status quo, while the Catholic bishops’ rejection of the idea ensured its failure among the Catholic population. Chief among the concerns of the bishops was the remains of the Catholic University of Ireland, which would become subsumed into a new university, which on account of Trinity College would be part Anglican. Ultimately this episode led to the creation of the National University of Ireland. In the post-independence period Trinity College suffered from a cool relationship with the new state. On the 3rd May 1955 the Provost, Mr A.J.McConnell pointed out in a piece in the Irish Times that certain state funded County Council scholarships excluded Trinity College from the list of approved institutions, this he suggested amounted to religious discrimination.
Trinity College School of Commerce
The School of Commerce was established in 1925, and the School of Social Studies in 1934. Also in 1934, the first female professor was appointed.
In 1962 the School of Commerce and the School of Social Studies amalgamated to form the School of Business and Social Studies. In 1969 the several schools and departments were grouped into Faculties as follows: Arts (Humanities and Letters); Business, Economic and Social Studies; Engineering and Systems Sciences; Health Sciences (since October 1977 all undergraduate teaching in dental science in the Dublin area has been located in Trinity College); Science.
Trinity College Catholic Church
In 1970 the Roman Catholic Church, through the then Archbishop of Dublin John Charles McQuaid, lifted its policy of disapproval or even excommunication for Roman Catholics who enrolled without special dispensation. At the same time, the Trinity College authorities invited the appointment of a Roman Catholic chaplain to be based in the college. There are now two such Catholic chaplains.
In the late 1960s, there was a proposal for University College, Dublin, of the National University of Ireland to become a constituent college of a newly reconstituted University of Dublin. This plan, suggested by Brian Lenihan and Donogh O’Malley, was dropped after opposition by Trinity College students.
Trinity College Technology
From 1975, the Colleges of Technology that now form the Dublin Institute of Technology had their degrees conferred by the University of Dublin. This arrangement was discontinued in 1998 when the DIT obtained degree-granting powers of its own.
Trinity College Pharmacy
The School of Pharmacy was established in 1977 and around the same time, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was transferred to University College, Dublin. Student numbers increased sharply during the 1980s and 1990s, with total enrolment more than doubling, leading to pressure on resources and subsequent investment programme.
Trinity College is today in the centre of Dublin, and constantly continues to grow and develop its academic and other activities. At the beginning of the new century, it embarked on a radical overhaul of academic structures to reallocate funds and reduce administration costs, resulting in, for instance, the mentioned reduction from six to just three faculties. The ten-year strategic plan prioritises four research themes with which Trinity College seeks to compete for funding at the global level.
Trinity College Buildings and grounds
Interior courtyard of the modern Goldsmith Hall college residence, Trinity College retains a tranquil collegiate atmosphere despite its location in the centre of a capital city (and despite its being one of the most significant tourist attractions in Dublin). This is in large part due to the compact design of the college, whose main buildings look inwards and are arranged in large quadrangles (called squares), and the existence of only a few public entrances. The main college grounds are approximately 190,000 m2 (47 acres), including the Trinity College Enterprise Centre nearby, and buildings account for around 200,000 m², ranging from works of older architecture to more modern buildings. The main entrance to the college is on the College Green and its grounds are bounded by Nassau and Pearse street. The college is bisected by College Park which has a cricket and rugby pitch.
The western side of the college is the older part featuring many fine buildings, including the Chapel and Examination Hall (designed by Sir William Chambers), Graduates Memorial Building (GMB), Museum Building (designed by Thomas Newenham Deane and Benjamin Woodward), spread across five quadrangles. The eastern side of the college is occupied by Science buildings most of which are modern developments and are arranged in three rows instead of quadrangles. The The Provost’s House sits a little way up from the College Front Gate such that the House is actually on Grafton Street, one of the two principle shopping streets in the city, while its garden faces into the College. The Douglas Hyde Gallery, a contemporary art gallery, is located in the College as is the Samuel Beckett Theatre. It hosts national and international performances and is used by the Dublin International Theatre Festival, the Dublin Dance Festival, and The Fringe Festival, among others. During the academic term it is predominantly used as a teaching and performance space for Drama students and staff. The college was ranked by Forbes as the 6th most beautiful in the world.
The College also incorporates a number of buildings and facilities spread throughout the city, from the Politics and Sociology Departments located on Dame Street to the the Faculty of Health Sciences buildings located at St James’s Hospital and the Adelaide and Meath incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, the Trinity Centre at St James’s Hospital incorporates additional teaching rooms as well as the Institute of Molecular Medicine and John Durkan Leukaemia Institute. The College also owns a large set of residences four km to the south of the college on the Dartry Road in Rathmines called Trinity Hall.
Trinity College Library
The Old Library, housing the Book of Kells and other ancient manuscripts. The Library of Trinity College is the largest research library in Ireland. As a result of its historic standing, Trinity College Library Dublin is a legal deposit library (as per Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003) for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and has a similar standing in Irish law. The College is therefore legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland and consequently receives over 100,000 new items every year. The Library contains circa five million books, including 30,000 current serials and significant collections of manuscripts, maps, and printed music. Three million books are held in the book depository, “Stacks”, in Santry, from which requests are retrieved twice daily.
The Library proper is composed of several library buildings in college. The original (Old) Library is Thomas Burgh’s masterpiece. A huge building, it originally towered over the university and city after its completion. Even today, surrounded by similarly scaled buildings, it is imposing and dominates the view of the university from Nassau Street. It was founded with the College and firs endowed by James Ussher (1625–56), Archbishop of Armagh, who endowed his own valuable library, comprising several thousand printed books and manuscripts, to the College. The Book of Kells is by far the Library’s most famous book and is located in the Old Library, along with the Book of Durrow, the Book of Howth and other ancient texts. Also incorporating the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions, and holds thousands of rare, and in many cases very early, volumes. In the 18th century, the college received the Brian Boru harp, one of the three surviving medieval Gaelic harps, and a national symbol of Ireland, which is now housed in the library.
Arnaldo Pomodoro’s Sphere Within Sphere sculpture stands outside the Berkeley Library the buildings referred to as the College’s BLU (Berkely Lecky Ussher) Arts library complex consist of the Berkely Library in Fellow’s Square, built in 1956, the Lecky Library, attached to the Arts building, and the James Ussher Library which, opening officially in 2003, overlooks College Park and houses the Glucksman Map Library. The Glucksman Library contains half a million printed maps, the largest collection of cartographic materials in Ireland. This includes the first Ordnance Surveys of Ireland, conducted in the early 19th century.
The Library also includes the William Hamilton Science and Engineering Library and the John Stearne Medical Library, housed at St James’s Hospital.